Aren’t these dresses to die for? Don’t you immediately want to make a version, with their bright prints, gently gathered waists and buttoned bodices? I first spotted these in San Francisco, and took a quick photo for Beth. I now know that Sunny Gal has a weakness for bright prints and pretty dresses after she shared with me some of her previous makes. (Oh, what a heady delight of dress loveliness that was!)
So I took the above photo and backed up, thinking, I must let Beth know what store these are in. Yeah. Ahem. Um. Prada. I skedaddled back down the pavement. Not in my price range! But, still, inspiration.
So when I saw these same dresses in another Prada store in Las Vegas, I strode inside and had a really good study, turning over hems, poking inside bodices, peering at the waist finishes. Were they real buttonholes or fake? Yup, real! They’d finished the skirt with a rolled hem on an overlocker? Well, I never!
There’s something very specific about Las Vegas that allowed me to be this brazen, pawing expensive dresses. The city has a certain freedom. Walk into a London Bond Street Prada store and pick over the stock? Ha! I can just imagine the sales assistant’s sang froide and glacial smile as she enquired if I was looking for the Primark flagship store, you’ll find it just over here – cue gentle steering out of the store.
Ian and I chatted a lot about the oddities of Las Vegas, in between silly flutters on the machines. This was my second visit and I still came away feeling deeply ambivalent. I can’t decide if this says more about me, or more about Las Vegas. The Derbyshire girl brought up (though – ha! – many, many years lapsed) Methodist, cast adrift in a city devoted to… Well, what is it devoted to? The worship of money, the unashamed pursuit of whatever floats your boat. These aren’t in and of themselves things I take exception to. I think what unsettles me is the deep knowledge that nobody cares about me beyond my next $20 note. The emptiness behind the eyes. And yet, it is this very lack of care – or judgement – that allows me to fondle a dress that I can’t afford. So, quit your belly aching, Karen!
There is a point to this story – the point being that even in unsettling cities, fellow sewing bloggers can save an evening. Ian had failed to find a decent Old Fashioned and I’d spent half an hour ‘chatting’ to the head waiter about how we hadn’t ordered the $90 bottle of wine that was on our restaurant bill. (I’d ordered a cheaper bottle, like obviously.) So by this stage, we were in the mood for some light entertainment.
‘Oonaballoona left a comment on my blog recommending a bar here,’ I told Ian, flicking through the screen on my iPhone.
‘You know! We celebrated her birthday in the American Bar and she used to live in New York, but now she lives in LA, and her husband comes up with cocktail recipes, and…’
Ian held up a hand. ‘You’re telling me she’s cool?”
‘Right! And for some reason, I don’t think she finds me a total nerd. Here it is! The Freakin’ Frog. They serve whiskey.’
Ian grinned. ‘Let’s get a cab over there.’ And so we did!
Oh, how we loved the Freakin’ Frog! ‘I hear you sell good whiskey,’ I said to the owner.
’800 different bottles,’ he replied, leaning on the bar.
Ian’s smile widened. ‘Do you have a whiskey menu, then?’ he asked.
‘No. Follow me.’
The mood for the evening was settled! Our bearded host took us up the wooden stairs to the golden oblong of an open door that led to a room that housed … a lot of whiskey. Ian sampled three; I watched indulgently. (I don’t actually drink whiskey.) Eventually, we caught a cab back to our hotel, floating on air. A unique experience, all thanks to blogging friends – again!
Plus, I got to see a Prada dress up close – all ripe for duplication at home.The weirdest thing? There wasn’t a single detail in that dress that befuddled me. Every single technique I saw, I’d already done as a home sewist. Hey! Thanks, Las Vegas. I guess you’re alright, after all. And thank you, Oonaballoona!
Have you ever seen a designer dress that you’d love to copy – or have successfully copied? Any thoughts on Las Vegas?
Apologies. I have no idea why I look so … boobadiculous in this photo.